The Australian government is investing in a wide range of initiatives to which Wisconsin companies can contribute.
The demand for digital health and well-being solutions and technologies continues to grow in Australia, driven by key factors such as rapid population growth (Australia’s population is expected to increase by about 12 million over the next 30 years), an aging population and higher rates of chronic and degenerative diseases (nearly half of all Australians suffer from one or more chronic diseases).
Overall health care expenditures are growing in Australia. According to the most recent figures published by the Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, total expenditures in 2017-18 exceeded $114 billion USD ($185 billion AUD), equating to nearly 10% of GDP. Australia’s digital health market is also growing and is expected to reach a value of $1.7 billion USD ($2.8 billion AUD) by the end of 2020.
The Australian government is also investing in technological solutions to enable new models of care in response to changing needs. Digital health and well-being solutions such as remote monitoring, wearable devices and telehealth are becoming increasingly important. Continued investment in health infrastructure is also spurring demand for new medical technologies, devices and equipment.
At the end of March 2020, the Australian Government announced a $1 billion AUD ($700 million USD) funding package to improve the health and well-being of the Australian population, including:
- $660 million AUD ($406 million USD) to enable universal access to Medicare-subsidized telehealth services to all Australians, including access to essential primary health services such as physician consultations, mental health treatment and chronic disease management via telephone or videoconferencing;
- $74 million AUD ($46 million USD) to support the mental health and well-being of all Australians, including funding for the Australian government’s mental health portal, Head to Health, a new national communications campaign delivered by the National Mental Health Commission and a dedicated COVID-19 well-being support line; and
- the provision of dedicated mental health support for health care workers via digital platforms.
Other digital health initiatives currently underway that may also provide opportunities for Wisconsin companies include:
- The Australian Digital Health Agency is modernizing Australia’s national digital health infrastructure, with further announcements and opportunities for technology providers expected in 2020.
- The $20 billion AUD ($12 billion USD) Medical Research Future Fund is funding research into digital health tools for chronic disease reduction.
Wisconsin exporters with expertise and proven solutions related to these initiatives should capitalize on this significant increase in funding and investigate specific opportunities in further detail. For example:
- Engage with Australian research organizations such as the Australian E-Health Research Centre, ANDHealth, Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
- Connect with key public sector agencies, including the Australian Digital Health Agency, eHealth NSW and Queensland eHealth.
- Review and register to receive updates from Australian Government Tender websites.
- Consider attending key industry events such as Australian Healthcare Week in Sydney (Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2020) and the Australian Telehealth and Virtual Care Conference / Health Informatics Conference in Brisbane (Oct. 19-21, 2020).